Is it harder to start a business when you are older?
I know starting a business requires long hours and a lot of stamina. It also requires a lot of skill. It is often hard to work the longer hours as you get older, but you have developed more skills. Do people recommend starting business when you are just out of school or developing experience and then starting a business?
Wow, lot's of great answers. I had a career at a large company for years before starting my own small business. I think there are always challenges. Younger people usually don't have the network, experience or initial capital that can help. But, as you get older you often have more financial obligations, like a mortgage and family, so it's much harder to choose such a risky path. But, I think the key is to plan properly. I've seen hugely success entrepreneurs of all ages.
I recommend starting a business once you find something with which you have a passion and which meets the needs of others ... regardless of age. Each person's definition of 'older' is probably different. A teenage whizkid entrepreneur is going to think someone in their 30s is old. Life is too short to wait if you have a passion and desire to make a difference as an entrepreneur. If you're young, then balance out your team with some seasoned mentors. If you're not-so-young, then bring on some younger members if you feel the need. Many people mistakenly think of entrepreneurship as an individual endeavor - it's a team sport.
In my case the calculation is 2013-1942= 71. Mentally I am 27 (my choice). Spiritually I am eternal. The calculation is meaningless. Decide what you want and do it. I did and do all the time. Good luck and insist on correct thinking. ~ gale
I believe it is about starting a new journey. Everything is a challenge until it becomes easy. My mother is in her 60's and starting her own business as a retirement plan. It is a risk. Everything is. It is about making a decision and sticking to it. It is easiest to start a business if you read personal development books. It really helps train your brain to focus and believe in yourself.
Hi Barbara, I would write up a business plan first, then I would start out small and see where it goes. If you need capital, I would strongly recommend doing a crowdfunding campaign, this is a sure fire way to find out if you have community support for your new business. :D Your business may make it or it may not but you will sure have a rewarding experience and you won't regret it. I promise you.
I've been advising small business owners for 25 years, and I see that people start businesses at all ages. Here are a few common categories:
-- People who get professional training, then go out on their own, so they never really work for anybody else (except their customers). Pretty quickly they see they must make their professional practice work as a business. These folks are in their 20s.
-- People who start out working for a large company, get fed up with it, and strike out on their own, perhaps taking a few customers with them. This often happens in their 30s or 40s. Most of my clients fall into this category.
-- Corporate escapees or castoffs, in their 50s or 60s, get laid off--or retire--then either start their business or buy a business. I have a client who took his golden parachute from investment banking and started a yoga studio.
-- Recycled Boomers. People who retire in their 60s who get bored and decide to launch another venture. I have a client who sold his cable programming company at 67, and has started a training program for other retirees.
The young often see older people as decrepit and slowing down. But when you get to be 70, you say, hey, I still love my work, and I still have plenty of energy and gumption. And what else would I do for the next 20 years or so? I, at 71, am about to launch a new offshoot from my company, training coaches and consultants to do what I do.
I think it's a myth that you have to work 24/7 when you start a business. Many do, of course, but I think that's often due to poor planning or choosing an inadequate business model.
You might have more energy to do so when you're younger but having the experience make it more likely that you'll succeed, ultimately.
Hello Barbara, great question here; you really engaged the audience with this subject. It depends, I guess we can only answer from our own experience, for example I started my first business venture when I was 39 and I did faced several challenges , my father on the other hand is 67 years old and he is just preparing to launch his first entrepreneurial adventure, he may not have many of the skills required to run a successful business but he has other great assists such as great network of peers. Age may be a factor but how hard it is to start up will depend on personal circumstances. My recommendation to people with entrepreneurial spirit is : start when you feel it's the right time for you to be doing that.
It's better to start a business when you have some experience. You're never too old to start a business, as long as you are healthy and have a passion/desire for your business. Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's Restaurants Worldwide got into the business at 55 years of age.
I trust my reply is encouraging, as well as makes sense.
Getting in a little late to the conversation, but I find the fact that you are asking the question in the first place to be very interesting.
Put aside the "long hours" and "stamina" and ask why you're throwing up roadblocks even before you get started. The question seems to be coming from a place of fear, rather than from a place in the heart. The reason why we start a business vary from person to person, but for the most part, we start them because it's what we want to do - it's our passion, dream, and motivation, all rolled into one.
You sound like you doubt yourself and your capabilities. If you do what you want to do, then it's not really work, is it? The answer there may vary, but the point is, the work is easier if it's something you really want to be doing. Make a difference. Change someone's life. Help others to succeed. If you are doing those, how fearful do you think you might be?
Starting a business is a challenge no matter when you start it. The real question is - If I do what I love to do, does the rest matter?
I wish you all the best successes!
It is impossible for me to imagine how it would be more difficult to start a business when one is older. In my experience, while extraordinarily difficult, it is easier when one is older at least into one's 60s (and probably much beyond that). I think it is not so much about stamina as about authentic dauntlessness (well reasoned, informed by experience).
Another question, more pertinent in my own experience, is how difficult it is to start a new business relative to seeking or sustaining employment in someone else's business as a function of age. The answer to this question is much more clear I think. Starting one's own business is relatively easier and increasingly so with age, certainly beyond 50.
In any case, if one has a solid case for a business, there isn't much reason to wait (especially these days because the case may disappear). If one is wise enough at a young age to realize the risks of one's own lack of experience, the solution is to hire people who are smarter or wiser than oneself. This is a good rule at any age or level.
It will be interesting to hear about the opinions and experience of others. Thanks for the question.
I do not think age has much to do with success. I think if you have what it takes then you have it. Some people never strive for business ownership and others crave it like air.
Interesting question seeing I am older and FINALLY! FINALLY! I am taking the leap of faith and starting my own technology company.
So here are my thoughts and what I have found so far:
I am definitely wiser as I have seen what works and does not work in other start-ups as I have experienced spectacular wins and losses due to the management and board members.
I have more confidence and diplomacy (hopefully) in presenting and talking to people and know what works when it comes to sales and marketing from my 20 years’ experience in High Tech.
I am also realizing how there is so much I don't know and love learning new things when starting up a new company.
The other plus is that I have a great network of resources and advisers who know my capabilities and are willing to open more doors as I move forward.
However, the cons I am finding are:
More difficult to juggle start-up, regular job as I need the funds to pay for the development of the platform, and home life with a child.
I also find it more difficult to find seed investment primarily because I am older and a woman and it seems many of the investors want to invest in the next Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page, so I tend to notice a dismissive attitude. EVEN though what I am developing is brilliant AND I have commitment from customers, early adopters and beta testers BEFORE I go live next month.
So in my very humble opinion, it can be a bit harder, but I am having so much fun and renewed my passion for something I can really sink my teeth into. I have not felt so excited and eager to get going on something in a very long time.
I just wish that seed investors are easier to find so that I can do this full time and grow my start-up to the levels I see it can be in the first year, as I have too many opportunities and not enough time to follow through.
So my recommendation is that you are never too old, and if you have found something to build and you are passionate about it, the energy level is very high and so well worth the adventure!
Hope this helps from an older but young at heart CEO of a start-up AND an older mum!
That's a difficult one. It depends on the entrepreneur.
With age comes experience meaning (hopefully) a better judgement, larger business network and knowing what shortcuts to take.
But often age also means larger expense account, family commitments etc making it harder to afford the no-income early stages.
So to (over?) generalize it; Starting early means more tolerance to low income and failure. Starting late mean (hopefully) better experience and increased chance of success...
I can only speak for myself. Just turned 50, 4th startup. 2 daughters, early teens. I know the thin line balancing that has to be done. But love every minute of it :)
So I'd go for starting with experience and business network that come with age.
According to an extensive research conducted by Founders Institute ( http://fi.co ), the older you start the better the success rate.
Col. Sanders started his business at around the age of 40, and ventured into franchising KFC at around the age of 65. There are plenty of other case studies and examples (Founder Institute studied about 1000 of them).
Once there is passion, focus, and drive, age becomes irrelevant.
Barbara, Mark Twain said “Ignorance and confidence are all you need in life and success is sure.” As a young man I loved that saying because other than a solid work ethic, those were the only qualifications I had. Whether you are young, old or in between, success in business requires that you have an unwavering commitment to succeed and that you effectively leverage the resources that you have available to you. Assuming that you have the appropriate capital and a good business model, you can usually overcome whatever skill deficits you may have.
I would not recommend starting a business when you are just out of school. It is best to start a business when you have the necessary experience but have relatively lesser family commitments i.e. before you start a family or after your children have become independent. This gives you enough time and focus to set up your business.
I have seen it work both ways; it's a matter of the individual. Experienced or not there are many lessons to learn and each business has it's own unique lessons to teach so the experienced are not at a far greater advantage than the newbie.
I have to go with responder Neil Licht, if you have enough passion to inspire yourself, you owe it to yourself to give it a go. A simplistic answer? Not at all; a successful business always begins with a passionate and committed person. Not suggesting that's all; only the beginning but the right place to start.
That ultimate answer depends on personal and market conditions. Since I am in my 60"s and have started several businesses and will do at least two more, let's see if the factors I consider can help:
1. Where is your heart at? Are you passionate about something that will fuel you or are you motivated by other reasons - needing income, whatever?
2. Are your skills still current? That is important yet some refresher training can overcome that.
3. What have you learned that gives you unique and timely insight to this business opportunity? That is more relevant when differentiation and a compelling value proposition are important, maybe less critical when running a franchise or staple business.
4. Do you have the resources you need - financially, network, support, team, other?
5. Have you tested your most important assumptions?
Barbara, please note, few of these questions have to do with age as that really is an attitude and something you can control. Yes, as we age we can get typecast into stereotypical behaviors. I run into that where I compete in marketing against younger talent shops but heck, my talent team are all young and I add a level of insight, strategy and critical thinking that proves itself every time but in my business I have to stay ahead of trends and new thinking. Yours may be less demanding but its all good.
I wish you luck in your decision. Bill